Grilling for the Girls

Get sizzling this summer
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Up the Ante This Grill Season

North Carolina-native Karmel says she makes this anti-pasta platter every time she entertains, using it as an appetizer or side dish. Its grown-up flair (no picky eaters allowed) comes from the soprano sauce, a mix of olive oil, garlic, capers and anchovies. Grilling method: Direct/medium heat Soprano Sauce *6 anchovy fillets, drained and finely minced *4 cloves garlic, finely minced *1 tablespoon capers, drained and coarsely chopped *2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Tuscan *sea salt, to taste To make the sauce, combine the anchovies, garlic and capers in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season further with salt if desired. Set aside. Antipasto
  • cup olive oil
*6 tablespoons vinegar, such as a rich red-wine vinegar or balsamic *2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus a little more for each vegetable *2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and each cut into 4 long slices *4 medium zucchini, each cut into 4 long slices *2 small radicchio, cut into quarters *1 medium eggplant, cut into 4 long slices; then each slice cut in half widthwise *3 small bunches green onions, trimmed *1 pint small, ripe cherry tomatoes, tossed in a bowl with a little oil *1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, cilantro, basil, or Italian parsley *4 lemons, cut into wedges *kosher salt Combine the oil, vinegar, and 2 teaspoons of salt in a blender. Process until smooth. Lightly coat cut vegetables with this mixture and sprinkle with salt. One by one lay the vegetable slices and green onions on the cooking grate over Direct/Medium heat. (Do this in batches if necessary so the grill is not crowded.) Cook about 5 minutes. Turn the vegetables over and baste with the vinaigrette. Cook 3 or 4 minutes longer; as soon as vegetables are done, remove from grill and transfer to a platter: the zucchini, radicchio and green onions should be done first; the eggplant will take a little longer and the sweet potatoes will be the last to cook through. When all the other vegetables are done, place the tomatoes onto the cooking grate to mark and warm through, about 2 minutes. Place onto the platter with the other vegetables. Sprinkle with parsley, decorate with lemon wedges and serve at room temperature with Soprano sauce.
Photo courtesy of the St. Francis Girls Guide to Grilling

Grill Power & Pleasure

What motivated Karmel to start grilling? Realizing the only way she could get her beloved southern pulled pork was by doing it herself. She quickly fell in love with the grill and says her multi-cookbook spanning career is proof that when you do what you love, everything works out. "I think the grill, bar none, is the best way to prepare food. No one says ‘Oh God, grilled food again?’" Proof-even plain potatoes are better on the grill. Sparkling Red Potatoes Grilling method: Indirect/medium heat
Photo courtesy of the St. Francis Girls Guide to Grilling


With grilling, "it’s 10% skill, 90% the will to grill," says Karmel, who preaches her own trinity to women when explaining the ease of grilling. Her trilogy is salt, pepper and olive oil, a mixture of which she says can make almost anything irresistible. Sea scallops? Yum. Asparagus? Go for it. Her grilling technique includes applying oil to the food, not the grill grates. The oil will actually promote carmelization, "those roasty, toasty grill marks we all love." Another benefit: Applying oil directly to the food prevents "stickage", a word Karmel cops to making up but uses with flair nonetheless. Pecan Planked New York Strip Grilling Method: Combo/Medium heat *4 New York strip steaks or other favorite steak, about 1 inches thick *1 teaspoon kosher salt *1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, coarsely ground *olive oil *chopped parsley, optional *2 pecan organic grilling planks Preheat gas or charcoal grill for a combination of direct and indirect grilling – the combo method. You will use both methods for the Sear and Plank’ technique. In a sink or container large enough to hold the planks, immerse the planks in water for 30 minutes or longer (you may need to weigh it down). Allow meat to come to room temperature about 20 to 30 minutes before grilling. Just before grilling, brush both sides of the steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place steaks directly on the cooking grates over direct heat and sear, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to soaked planks (2 per plank) and turn off the burners in the center of the cooking grate (directly under the food) for indirect grilling. Place planks in center of grill over indirect heat and close lid. Close lid and allow steaks to cook about 6-8 minutes for medium rare; internal temperature should read 140F. Remove the steaks from the grill and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before serving. Top each steak with a slice of the Red Wine Compound Butter (recipe in later slide) and sprinkle with parsley, if desired.
Photo by: iStock

Feminine Mystique

The simplest way to put a feminine touch on grilling? Pairing foods with wine. Gone are the days of hot dogs and beer-eat and drink what you like, says Karmel. "Make it a food and wine party, but use the grill as your heat source." Karmel, a red wine lover, says she was converted by St. Francis’ chardonnay, a brand she’s been working with for 10 years.
Photo courtesy of the St. Francis Girls Guide to Grilling

Cooking in the Wide Open

"I feel like a minister of outdoor cooking," says Karmel, who says she grills four or five times a week and loves the way it brings people together. An admitted iPhone-addict, she believes it’s important to get away from apps and gadgets. "It’s the closest thing you can get to a vacation in your own backyard." Garlic-Rubbed and Herbes de Provence Lamb Chops Grilling Method: Direct/Medium Heat *8-bone rack of lamb *4 large cloves of garlic, cut in half
  • kosher salt
*3 tablespoons Dijon mustard *1 tablespoon herbes de Provence *sea salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste *1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley Dry lamb of excess moisture. Cut rack into 4 double-chop portions and spread out on a sheet of waxed paper. Sprinkle both sides with salt. Using half a clove per side of lamb, rub the garlic clove all over to "scent" the meat. Discard garlic cloves and set meat aside. Meanwhile, mix mustard, herbs and pepper, if desired. Spread mustard herb mixture over both sides of lamb chops. Place lamb in center of cooking grate directly over the heat, bone-side down. Note: The bones make their own "rack" holding the chops away from the cooking grates. Grill about 10 minutes without turning. During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time, sear both sides to mark. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
Photo by: Robert Churchill/iStock

Salt-Crusted Shrimp

Karmel says she makes her salt-crusted shrimp recipe over and over again. "Do it outside and toss everything on newspaper like you do at the beach." Grilling method: Direct/medium heat Shrimp *16 jumbo or colossal shrimp in the shell (or frozen black tiger shrimp) *3 tbls olive oil *1/4 cup kosher salt Dipping Sauce
  • cup extra-virgin olive oil
*juice from 1 large lemon *zest from lemon *2 cloves garlic, minced *4 stems fresh oregano *freshly ground pepper to taste Whisk together the oil and lemon. Stir in the garlic. Take the leaves off the oregano stems and leave whole, add to oil mixture. Let sit for at least 20 to 30 minutes to marry the flavors-or make up to 12 hours in advance. Set aside. If desired, devein the shrimp with a "shrimp deveiner" or, using a small sharp knife, make a slit about 1/4-inch deep down the backs of the shrimp and remove the vein but do not remove the shells. Place the shrimp in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil to coat lightly all over. Just before putting on the grill, sprinkle the salt evenly over the shrimp and toss well to make sure each shrimp is thoroughly coated in a crust of salt. Place the shrimp in the center of the cooking grate, 3 to 4 minutes per side or until the shrimp is pink and the flesh is opaque (white). Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
Photo courtesy of the St. Francis Girls Guide to Grilling

Red Wine Compound Butter

Add a woman’s touch with a red wine-infused butter. *2 shallots, minced *2 tablespoons plus 3 teaspoons St. Francis red wine divided *1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened *3 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
  • teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • teaspoon smooth or whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • teaspoon sea salt
*freshly ground pepper Make the butter 3 hours in advance. Soak the shallots in 2 tablespoons of the wine for 30 minutes. In a medium bowl, mash or stir the butter with a fork until it is smooth and slightly fluffy. Drain the shallots from the wine and add the wine-soaked shallots to the butter. Mix well. Add the parsley, Worcestershire, mustard, remaining 3 teaspoons wine, salt and pepper. Mix together, mashing with the back of a fork to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated. Mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if desired. On 2 pieces of plastic wrap or parchment, drop the butter in spoonfuls to form 2 logs. Roll the butter in plastic wrap and smooth out to form round logs about 2 inches in diameter. Refrigerate until hard and easy to cut into pieces. The butter will keep, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and in the freezer for up to one month.
Photo courtesy of the St. Francis Girls Guide to Grilling

Cedar Smoked Salmon

Look impressive without trying too hard. Karmel says cedar wrapping sheets can be found at most grocers, but if yours is mysteriously out, place directly on the grill as normal. Grilling method: Indirect/medium heat Salmon *4 wild salmon fillets, about 6-ounces each *1 lemon, cut into thin slices *olive oil *kosher salt *freshly ground pepper to taste *4 cedar Smoking Sheets, soaked in water 10 minutes *4 pieces of kitchen twine (soaked in water) or chives about 12 inches long Remove the Cedar Smoking Sheets from the water and place three lemon slices vertically down the center of each cedar sheet. Place each fillet skin-side down on top of the lemon slices. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. If you aren’t using the herb oil, place the lemon slices on top of the salmon before tying. Wrap the sides of the Cedar Smoking Sheets around the fish and tie with the wet cooking twine. You will have 4 cedar "packages". Place each piece of salmon on its smoking sheet in the center of the cooking grate, with the solid wood-side down. Grill for 15-20 minutes or until salmon is pink in the center and flakes easily with a fork. Remove from grill and serve the salmon directly from the Cedar Smoking Sheet with the herb oil on the side. Pour the herb oil on top of the salmon when you open the salmon package. Fresh Green Herb Oil Infusion *1-2 cups washed and dried fresh curly parsley *1/3 – 1 cup best quality extra-virgin olive oil or un-toasted nut oils like hazelnut, macadamia and walnut *pinch of fine grain sea salt Place half of herbs in the blender with about a third of the oil and the salt. Puree and taste. Based on the taste, add the rest of the herbs and the rest of the oil. Allow puree to sit for 30 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth into a plastic squeeze bottle. Discard solids. Note: If you don’t have any cedar wrapping sheets, follow the directions and place the salmon filets with the lemon slices on top of the salmon directly on the cooking grates. Grill without turning for 15 minutes or until fish is translucent. Remove from grill and serve with either the Herb Oil or the White Wine Compound Butter. WANT MORE GRILLING RECIPES? CHECK OUT GRILL POWER FOR TURKEY BURGERS, CARAMELIZED PEACHES AND MORE.
Photo courtesy of the St. Francis Girls Guide to Grilling

Grilled Banana Split Sundae

Dessert on the grill is among the sweeter twists we’ve ever heard of. Grilling method: Direct/low heat *4 firm, but ripe, bananas, unpeeled *1 tablespoon white sugar *1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon *1 tablespoon untoasted walnut or other nut oil, plus more if needed *8 small scoops best-quality vanilla ice cream
  • cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
*1 cup chocolate ganache, below *whipped cream, optional *hopped toasted pecans or walnuts *maraschino cherries, optional Slice bananas in half lengthwise and crosswise so each banana yields four pieces. Set aside. Coat honey on cut sides of bananas. Let bananas sit for 5 minutes. Place bananas cut-side down on a clean cooking grate over Direct Low heat. Cook for 2 minutes or until grill marks appear. Using a pair of long-handled tongs, turn over and let cook 5 more minutes or until the skin pulls away from the banana. Arrange 2 banana halves without skins on each serving plate. Top each serving with 2 scoops of ice cream. Ladle 1/4 cup of hot fudge over each sundae. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of chopped nuts, whipped cream and place a cherry on top. Serve immediately. Side note: For a lighter alternative, try grilling pineapples, pears, or apples for a delicious, healthy treat. For more grilling tips, click here
Photo courtesy of the St. Francis Girls Guide to Grilling

First Published Fri, 2010-07-09 10:27

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